Oct 20 2012

Hanging out in Texas

Talk among yourselves, everyone. I’m in Austin — I’m actually right in front of the Capitol steps — for the Texas Freethought Convention, after getting in after 1am last night. I just heard Aron Ra shred the religious, and Matt Dillahunty and Richard Dawkins and Sean Faircloth are coming up. It’s good to be in Texas, a phrase I’m surprised to have ever written.

It sounds like the convention is close to being sold out, so you’re too late for the afternoon/evening sessions, but we’re going to be right out her in public all morning.

Oh, look…a picketer!



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  1. 1
    Deanna Joy Lyons - Mentioner of Patriarchy

    So jealous! That sounded like a wonderful convention. I’m looking forward to seeing pics and video online. What a great lineup!

  2. 2

    Make sure to see the bats!!!

  3. 3

    Be sure that you go eat at Hoover’s. Before the Sunday church crowd is good.
    It’s not Minnesota food…….

  4. 4

    I’m not sure Austin really counts as Texas, if that’s any consolation.

  5. 5
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Not exactly the most tasteful song but here we go.

    Texas is the place where we hang them high!

    Beers, Steers And Queers-Revolting Cocks

  6. 6

    Kris – Agreed and amplified. Austin most assuredly doesn’t count as Texas.

  7. 7
    Patricia, OM

    Good luck hearing Dawkins talk about something other than Romney. *snort*

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    Make sure to see the bats!!!

    Is it “bat country” Oo

  9. 9

    In other words: Look forward to Hell. It’s gonna be a great party.

  10. 10
    Mak, acolyte to Farore

    Is it “bat country” Oo

    Austin has the biggest urban bat population in a long stretch. SO JEALOUS. I wanna seeeee.

    Oh, look…a picketer!

    I love it when they break out the threats right away. It’s as though they know that’s all they have going for them.

  11. 11
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    That list makes no sense. Drunks are the worst? And atheists are pretty far down.
    Or is it random? Someone should discuss it with the guy.

  12. 12

    Amusing that he seems to think there’s only one abortionist.

    Must be a busy sinner…..

  13. 13
    Thy Goddess

    @Stardrake: He must realize that if his faerie tales are true the #1 abortionist is his god. :P

  14. 14
    chigau (違う)

    That guy with the sign changed the order and added stuff not in Corinthians.
    Burn The Heretic!!!1!!

  15. 15

    1 Corinthians 6:9 is the passage that uses words so obscure that no one, anywhere, knows what they mean. Possible meanings include “people who have heterosexual anal sex,” “people who have non-procreative sex,” “temple prostitutes,” “draft dodgers,” “murderers,” “cross dressers,” and “male slaves.”

    Have at it!

  16. 16
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    He has thieves. Thieves and liars. But no hypocrites? What kind of Ministry is this?

    /sits back and awaits groans from the peanut gallery.

  17. 17

    I score 7 out of 10. See you in hell! We’ll fornicate!

  18. 18

    Witches? What century is this?

  19. 19

    According to the picketer’s sign most of the population of Texas has had it. Liars, drunks and fornicators includes at least half the population. Then all the others make up a good part of the rest.

  20. 20
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    UnknownEric, I did include The Revolting Cocks earlier.

    Linger Ficking Good

  21. 21

    Y’all should do a Burnet Road bar crawl tonight! A lot more fun than downtown!

  22. 22
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I guess when all you’ve got is unsubstantiated threats of eternal damnation, everything looks like a sin.

  23. 23

    TELL ME you’re doing a guest spot on The Atheist Experience tomorrow! That would rock!

    Think he gets many witches standing and staring at that sign, thinking ‘oh crap, now i’m in for it’?

  24. 24
    Matt G

    To paraphrase Twain, go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company. C U there!

  25. 25

    Hell looks like a lot of fun. Can hardly wait to get there!

  26. 26

    The protester is from bulldog ministries, another christian group spreading their gospel of hate. They were in the news recently for trying to start fights at the gay pride parade.

    I realize these people have an archaic world view, but I have to laugh at including witches in categories of damned people.

    Someone in Austin needs to make a look alike sign that lists vampires, zombies, werewolves, false prophets, gnomes, pink unicorns, and wizards and then go stand next to this protester.

    Preferably while wearing drag, and drinking from a flask.

  27. 27

    Lucky thing his sign appears to be in Comic Sans already…

  28. 28
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I am an atheist. I am occasionally drunk.

    That’s about it (unless non-procreative sex with Wife counts as fornication).

    Damn, I’m boring.

    Have fun in Texas, PZed. I’d lend you one of my cowboy hats but it would take too long to mail it too you.

  29. 29

    Why isn’t “Abortionist” plural on that sign?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  30. 30

    suicide bombers
    Absolutely nothing awaits you.

  31. 31

    They’re still hunting for witches, it seems.

  32. 32

    No thieves? But what about the GOP?

    This guy needs to relax. Someone get him a copy of Red Dwarf season 10 episode 3!

  33. 33

    I was a little worried as I read that sign. As I read each line, I thought that isn’t me, or I need to know his definition of the word to know if it applies to me (does telling a lie as a small child make me a liar?). But then I read “Atheists” and I was relieved because it does apply to me (unless we use William Lame Craig’s definition). But it would be real easy to argue my way into that group. So, just in case that bible junk is real, I won’t have to spend eternity with people like the ones protesting, and I won’t have to spend eternity with an evil deity like the god of the bible.

    PZ, if you see that protester again, tell him thanks for including me in the list. Also ask him when he became the person who decides who goes to heaven or to hell.

  34. 34

    Fortunately, that list is cumulative. Hell only awaits lying, drunken, gay abortionists who steal, commit adultery, fornicate, and somehow manage to be atheist witches who worship idols.

    I suspect that is a very small group, and includes no one who reads this blog. What a relief.

  35. 35
    Mak, acolyte to Farore

    Lucky thing his sign appears to be in Comic Sans already…

    Nah, ’tain’t Comic Sans, but I’m honestly kind of surprised that it isn’t, considering their books and banners tend to get covered in it.

    If I see one more Jesus Wubs Yuu book in Comic Sans…

  36. 36

    It has been revealed to me that,

    God offers salvation only to atheists because God does not like being surrounded by obsequious “yes-men”.”

    ‘The Atheist Debater’s Handbook’ by B.C. Johnson

  37. 37

    Abortionist? I don’t rember seeing that in Corinthians. He slipped that one in.

    Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

  38. 38

    Oh, they fixed the apostrophes. That’s nice.

  39. 39

    Drunks rate above Homosexuals, Abortionists, Atheists, and Witches? I’m doing it wrong. Clearly.

  40. 40

    You picked the right time to visit Texas. I always recommend October. It has usually cooled down into the upper seventies/low eighties by that time, nice and warm for visitors and downright cool for us. However we are having a hot autumn this year and down here in San Antonio we are still getting some 90s.

    And do check out the bats. I’ve seen them twice just by driving through on 35 on my way north at the right time. We have a large number of bats here too, but our biggest populations are on the edges of town and can’t really be called “urban”.

  41. 41

    I am definitely going to hell – I belong to all of those categories except liar.

  42. 42

    Pig-ignorant scum, dumber than Harpo Marx. Doesn’t he know people are still torturing and murdering children suspected of being ‘witches’? For feck sake. And he’s just making stuff up – abortionist?

    I hear there’s great live blues in Austin. Enjoy.

  43. 43
    quiet heretic

    The picketer is lying! Here’s the verse from the NIV version of the bible:

    [9] Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    First, they mention men who have sex with men but not women who have sex with women. Lesbians should be ok. Witches are definitely not listed in the verse (unless you classify them as idolaters) and abortionists aren’t mentioned either. How did they get on the picketer’s list? What about liars and atheists? The verse doesn’t mention those either.

    The verse says nothing about hell – it just says that these people won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Now, normally when you inherit a kingdom don’t you first have to wait for the current king to die? That could cause a problem with an immortal god.

    And who better qualifies as “swindlers” or “greedy” than the leaders of mega-churches or the prosperity gospel preachers?

    I think someone needs to have a good talk with this picketer to get the facts straight.

  44. 44

    I know that when I die I’m going to Hell. And Heaven. And Asgard, Middle Earth, the Elysian Fields, Vulcan, etc. They don’t exist, and I won’t exist, so you can say I’ll be there.

  45. 45

    PZ, are you staying for the AXP broadcast tomorrow? If so, I look forward to saying I met PZ Myers!

    -PC Fox (doesn’t have the same ring, it seems)

  46. 46

    TELL ME you’re doing a guest spot on The Atheist Experience tomorrow! That would rock!

    This terrific idea would make my month.

  47. 47

    Very small rocks
    <continued on reverse>

  48. 48
    chigau (違う)

    Now I recognise the list.
    We must add the colour blue and the smell of beets.

  49. 49

    “It’s good to be in Texas, a phrase I’m surprised to have ever written.” –P.Z.

    Right. But Austin is an island of sanity in the great lake of Texas crazy. Enjoy the festivities.

  50. 50
    chigau (違う)

    What is it about Austin that makes it so unTexan?

  51. 51

    I once saw the bats and the Grateful Dead in one night.

  52. 52
    chigau (違う)

    If this occurred in the late60s … are you sure?

  53. 53

    Re: The Sign…

    In 1968, a SFWA convention overlapped with a convention of Babtist “little old ladies” at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA.

    Randall Garrett–THE quickest witted person I EVER met–wandered out of the bar, cigarette in hand, and ran into one the Babtists. She looked him up and down, sniffed and said, “I suppose you drink, too!” Randall calmly replied, “Yes, Ma’am, and I also fuck.”

    (In one speech at an SF con, he was heckled by Harlan Ellison, who called out, “Hey, Randy! If your old lady divorced you and married me, she’d be Allison Ellison.” Without a pause, Garrett replied, “But if she were the man and you were the woman, you’d be Harlan Harlow.”)

  54. 54

    Here’s PZ’s full speech from Austin today!

  55. 55
    chigau (違う)

    “Harlan Harlow”

  56. 56
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    That bearded guy in the #54 video sounded cranky. The good type of cranky.

  57. 57

    And Really Big Cowboy has burned today: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/us/fire-destroys-big-tex-icon-of-texas-state-fair.html?_r=0

    Coincidence? I think not.

  58. 58
    chigau (違う)

    Quote Thomas Paine at me and I will follow you anywhere.

  59. 59

    So basically, all the big evangelists will be in hell. They’ll be the entertainment and that’s what makes it hell.

  60. 60
    blogofmyself, writer of papers

    Some day one of these conferences will happen near me at the same time that I happen to have enough money to attend, and it will be totally awesome.

    *watches PZ’s speech*

    Wonderful, as always. You know PZ, you use some great rhetorical devices. The alliteration was really quite lovely, especially in the first half. (The content is, of course, the best part, but I do love a good delivery.)

  61. 61

    Actually, it reminds me of that bit from The Moral Virologist:


  62. 62

    “…. and Matt Dillahunty and Richard Dawkins and Sean Faircloth are coming up….”


    (Waves arms and madly points “OMG!! A FUNNY SIGN”.)

  63. 63

    Who is this “PZ Meyers” that the YT vid above mentions? Someone famous?

  64. 64

    Rorschach – He seems to get a lot of hate-mail from creationists & the like, so he must be doing something right, whoever he is…

  65. 65
    PZ Myers

    Oirglbfrglbfgl. I’m at the Austin airport after far too few hours of sleep. Why do I do this to myself?

  66. 66

    Why do I do this to myself?

    Because you are a deeply moral being and want to help mend the world. No-one said it would be easy.

  67. 67

    Why do I do this to myself?

    To stay cranky!

  68. 68
    Argle Bargle

    Why do I do this to myself?

    Okay, I’ll play your silly game. Why do you do this to yourself?

  69. 69
    Gregory Greenwood

    Hell awaits us? Really?

    I know Halloween is on the horizon, and so it is the traditional time for fooling about with regard to imaginary ghouls and ghosties, but when your best argument is ‘do what I say or the bogeyman will get you!’, it really is time to pack up and go home.

    Unlike many theists, most of us grew out of being afraid of monsters lurking under the bed by the time we hit ten…

  70. 70

    H E double hockey sticks awaits us.
    I thought Mann’s single hockey stick more than enough bad news.

    Oh, and somebody needs to tell that guy in the video posted at #54 that he needs to frame his argument more carefully, and be a bit more accommodating to the deluded lackwits.
    Or not.

  71. 71

    “Hell awaits you” signs like that serve no purpose but to make the loser holding it feel better about himself.

  72. 72

    Nice alliteration PZ. Not quite up to “nattering nabobs of negativism”, but nice.

  73. 73

    Book recommendation: The Second Coming by John Niven. Jesus gets a good dressing down from dear old dad for letting the world go to pot while daddy’s out fishing. And then…

  74. 74
    Alan Fox

    Being an outside but interested observer, could I ask Prof. Myers and commenters here whether they think a genuine movement for atheism is underway and whether it will be (or indeed is being) taken seriously in mainstream politics in the US. Is there a sea change?

  75. 75

    Re nms @ 47:

    …a cathedral?
    A duck?

  76. 76

    Hey! Look! The guest list for my next family reunion!

  77. 77

    Think of religion as a movement that has a high status, including tax-exempt status for the beneficial effect that it has on society. Except that it causes harm, and is based on delusion.

    Sooner or later, this must change, just like belief in elves faded away about a century or two ago.

  78. 78
    Alan Fox

    Hi Echidna

    I’ve been an atheist as long as I can remember but I live in France where church and state separation is absolute, so I have no first-hand experience of the changing attitudes to atheism in the US. I have been told there is an active and growing atheist movement and I wonder if it optimistic to expect the grip of the religious right on US politics is under threat from this movement or is religiosity on the decline anyway.

    Grateful for any input, thanks.

  79. 79
    Alan Fox

    Just to add:

    I see the alliance of the political right and religious fundamentalists as depressingly successful with religious bias and polemic seemingly endemic on the US political scene.

    Can the nascent atheist, secular, humanist movement change anything? Is there enough support for such a change. Will such a movement be able to succeed or is it likely to fragment and evaporate?

    Cross posted at the cat lover’s blog website.

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